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Political Science Research Master Thesis

Vak 2010-2011


Aim: The thesis work for this Political Science Research Master programme will consist of two parts: a paper that conforms to the requirements and standards of leading political science journals, and a proposal for subsequent or future research that meets the requirements and standards of funding agencies (e.g. NWO/MaGW).

Type of research: The Political Science Research Master thesis research should fit within the research programme of the department and within the broad focus on political institutions that characterises this programme. All members of the department of political science are instructors in this programme. Students will be expected to develop their own research questions within the context of the research programme. They must operationalise the relevant concepts and conduct their research. Students will develop their proposal under guidance from their supervisor, but will also present and defend their research proposal to their fellow students in the Thesis Lab. At the end of the term, the research proposal must be approved by the supervisor selected by the student, and by a second supervisor assigned by the Examination Committee. The Thesis Lab is scheduled for block 3 and serves as a venue for students to meet regularly to discuss their progress and preliminary results. During block 4 students will devote their time to further analysis and to writing both the thesis and the research proposal. During this period students will meet regularly with the coordinator and with their primary supervisor. The final products must be approved by both supervisors. Criteria for the assessment of the research paper are whether it is embedded in previous research and literature of the topic of the paper, whether it includes a theoretical elaboration of the research problem and whether it includes an empirical test of hypotheses related to the theory or theories under consideration. The report should have a level of sophistication equal to that of an article in an internationally renowned journal. The criteria for the proposal for future research include that the proposal should be well integrated in the literature, and should present a discussion of the theoretical underpinnings of the research question and provide an appropriate design for empirical research to test the hypotheses generated. The final version of the proposal should meet the usual (e.g. NWO/MaGW) requirements and standards and be presented on the relevant NWO form (‘Aanvraag Open Competitie’). The form used to evaluate research proposals is also based on the form used by NWO for reviewers.

The form to be used for submitting the proposal, as well as the forms used to evaluate the thesis and the research proposal are reproduced on the following pages.
The student must defend the research and the proposal in a public meeting with the supervisors. A single grade is awarded to the combination of the thesis and the research proposal.